Most people define a “muscle car” as a car from the sixties or seventies with a powerful engine, and generally, two doors. Today that definition is a bit broader, but there is no question the term comes from what all of these cars have in common…powerful engines.
The gas shortage and rapidly increasing fuel prices of the early seventies started the demise of muscle cars, and many disappeared never to resurface. Others underwent drastic changes and yet others ceased production to be reincarnated later. A few others have even entered the niche along the way.
For many, this will be a trip through history. All of the cars making our list haven’t always been “muscle cars” but we trace their history using their nameplate as a guide. Let’s get ready to turn the key on our list of the 15 oldest muscle cars still being produced today.
15. Dodge Viper
The Dodge Viper made its debut in May of 1991 as a pace car of the Indianapolis 500, about 18 months before it ever went on sale to the public. According to Edmunds Automotive Magazine, public excitement about the original concept car forced it into production.
In January 1992, Dodge introduced the Viper to the public as a car that was unlike any other American produced car of its time. It set its own place at the muscle car table. Technically a sports car, the Viper was a dramatic departure from cars being produced, and was as close to a muscle car as you could get in the ‘90s. Car and Driver Magazine put it through its paces and discovered it could go from zero to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds.
It blazed through the quarter mile, reaching 107 miles per hour in the 13.2 seconds it took to complete it. It was sleek, sporty and fast. Redesigned slightly in 1996, the new design was dubbed the “double bubble” for its curved roofline and fenders. After a redesign in 2002, no new model was introduced in 2007.
Once again, Car and Driver tested it and found it to reach zero to 60 in 3.5 seconds, increasing its acceleration by about 25% since its introduction. Rebranded as the SRT Viper for the 2013 model year, its power comes at a price, with a base price of about $100,000. The Viper remains in production today, although Car and Driver says production was paused for two months in 2014 to allow demand to catch up with production.
The magazine says Only 91 Vipers were sold in the first two months of this year. That is a far cry from the 1600 annual vehicles Chrysler had originally projected for the year, but apparently Chrysler sees that as “increasing the exclusivity of the cars.”